DC Bars: Our List of the Best Watering Holes in Washington
Visiting the US capitol? Here is a list of five bars that are sure to provide a great night out in the District!
Washington, DC, may be known as the seat of the American government, but it is also a city that is full of vibrancy and life. There are many different ideas and ways of life colliding in the District, which causes it to boom with culture. One of the results of this culture is a diverse and entertaining nightlife. From U St, to Adams Morgan, to Georgetown, here are five watering holes that are sure to quench your thirst.
The aptly named Wonderland Ballroom is a staple in the Washington, DC, bar scene. Largely known as a hipster bar, it is packed almost every Friday and Saturday night. The bar has a great local and casual feel, and it can satisfy your pallet with a wide variety of good beer on tap. The two-story building, located in Columbia Heights, is covered in vintage signs and classic bar memorabilia. The first floor contains the bar and a seating area, while the upstairs is an active dance floor with different DJ’s nightly. Outside, there is a sizable patio for when the weather is warm. If you head over to Wonderland Ballroom it is unlikely you will want to leave before last call.
When locals talk about DC nightlife, Madams Organ is almost universally at the top of their list. Easily the most well known bar in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, Madams, as it is colloquially known, bears a somewhat legendary reputation to anyone who is familiar to the District. This four-story behemoth never fails to be a fun night out.
As you enter the bar you are immediately greeted with a live band on the first floor playing upbeat blues tunes. As you ascend up the subsequent floors, you are faced with multiple DJ’s and bars that you are free to choose from. Finally the top floor is a rooftop with a great view of the neighborhood. If there is any bar that you have to visit in DC, it is Madams Organ.
Dan’s Café is the dive bar that all other dive bars should aspire to be. Though the bar is famous for its liquor-filled squeeze bottles, the bar is truly unique because it feels like one of the only bars in Adams Morgan that remains from a past generation. The bartenders seem to have been working here since its conception decades earlier, and they perform their job with a no-nonsense attitude. Though I would not expect friendly service, they provide drinks with speed and precision, while collecting only cash as payment.
The bar is scarcely decorated with just a few booths and a jukebox in the corner. If you are looking for any flash or glamour then this bar may not be for you, but if you can appreciate a good dive bar you will love Dan’s Café. If anything, this bar is a great place to get liquored up for cheap before a fun night out in Adams Morgan.
Located on 9th and U St, El Rey could not be any more centrally located in the DC nightlife scene, though this bar has much more going for it than just a good location. A new aged cantina, El Ray has a spacey indoor area, and one of the biggest patios in the District out back. The patio has a retractable roof, so it is open year round. The storefront sticks out on the street due to the fact that it is made out of shipping containers, and it often has a line out the door. Also, if you want some Mexican flavor, the bar sells tacos from a stand outside. Generally packed from wall to wall, there is little doubt that El Ray is central to the DC bar scene.
A new bar on the scene in DC, American Ice has gained popularity quickly as a trendy mainstay in the U St corridor. Just around the corner from the popular 9:30 club, American Ice is a great place to stop for a post-show drink. The comfortable bar prides itself on the wide array of beers and whiskeys, and the friendly bartenders will be happy to guide your choice. From something simple like a Narragansett tallboy to artisanal and craft brews, American Ice has the perfect thing to quench your thirst. All beers from the tap come served in a mason jar, adding to the turn of the century industrial vibe you’ll get from this watering hole. Just one block off the busy U Street, American Ice has a relaxing heated patio with tons of picnic tables and a large indoor area with a huge bar. If you are looking for a chill night out in DC without missing the culture of this bustling city, American Ice is the place for you.
Now that you are equipped with this knowledge, you can get out and start experiencing the exciting DC nightlife.
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